Breaking News: After receiving our report and a sign on letter from 25 organizations representing 4 million people, Johnson & Johnson agreed to reformulate baby products worldwide to ensure they're free of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
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More than two years after leading health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) to reformulate its flagship baby shampoo to remove a cancer-causing chemical, the company is still putting the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15 into baby shampoo sold in the United States, Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo formulas sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives, according to a new analysis conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (WVE is a co-founder and steering committee member).
This double standard for American consumers seems especially ironic given a recent Forbes survey that showed Johnson & Johnson to be the most trusted corporate brand in America.
Between July and October of 2011, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics purchased and reviewed labels of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde was recently added to the U.S. government list of known human carcinogens by the Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde and quaternium-15 are also potent allergens that can trigger rashes and other skin inflammation problems.
The analysis reveals that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.
On October 31, 2011, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and many other health and parents’ groups delivered another letter to Johnson & Johnson asking the company to immediately remove formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from all its children’s products in all markets worldwide. The letter asked for the company to make a commitment by November 15, 2011.